DNA Fragmentation

DNA fragmentation

What is DNA fragmentation?

In a time when in vitro fertilization may result in a pregnancy with just a small quantity of high-quality sperm, the genetic integrity of sperm is critical for fertilization success and proper embryo development. Men’s subfertility, IVF failure, and miscarriage may all be caused by sperm DNA fragmentation, a medical term used to describe aberrant genetic material found inside the sperm.

A healthy DNA molecule has a double-helix spiral structure that is kept together by cross-bonds and resembles a ladder. However, if even one of the DNA “rungs” breaks or becomes unstable, the whole genetic ladder becomes unstable and falls to pieces. As a consequence, the sperm is broken apart.

Chromosomal abnormalities caused by DNA fragmentation may result in birth problems. Age, testicular cancer, smoking, heat exposure, infection, and exposure to toxins/chemicals are frequent reasons for sperm fragmentation. Still, not all of them are understood completely at present.

Everything You Need to Know DNA Fragmentation

Causes | Why Useful | Advantages | Can You Treat | FAQs

What causes DNA fragmentation?

According to research, using a sperm DNA fragmentation test on an infertile male population has shown that about 25% had significant levels of sperm DNA fragmentation. Damage to sperm DNA may be caused by a variety of causes, including:

  • A high temperature in the scrotum
  • Because of severe fever bouts, a varicocele, or wearing too-tight clothing
  • Seminal infections
  • Chlamydia trachomatis, a bacterium that impairs sperm quality, is to blame for the infection
  • Pharmaceutical medications
  • Pesticides and pollution may damage sperm DNA.
  • Consumption of tobacco
  • Smoking reduces the quality of a man’s sperm. Smoking may lead to an increase in the number of sperm with faulty DNA
  • Advanced age
  • Sperm DNA fragmentation rises sharply with age, particularly after the age of 45 when fertility is most likely to decline

There are many other reasons why the DNA of sperm fragments (spermatogenesis), such as failing to detect and remove from the testes defective sperm, or an inadequate maturation process in the epididymis, may cause sperm DNA fragmentation (spermatogenesis).

Why Would Sperm DNA Fragmentation Testing Be Useful?

However, research has demonstrated that the findings of semen analysis tests cannot consistently indicate whether or not a man is fertile or if a pregnancy will develop as a consequence of infertility therapy, even in the workup for male infertility. Therefore, clinical and research teams are now looking at other methods of finding out if a man is fertile or not.

Undamaged sperm and egg DNA is essential for successful embryo development. Sperm DNA damage is more frequent in infertile males, which may contribute to the men’s inability to conceive successfully.

Many infertile men have normal semen analysis findings with elevated DNA fragmentation. As a result of these connections, DNA integrity testing has become another way to gauge a woman’s reproductive potential.

12+ Years of Experience as
Sexologist and Infertility Specialist

12+ Years of Experience as
Sexologist and Infertility Specialist

Advantages of the sperm DNA fragmentation test

Advantages associated with the sperm DNA fragmentation test include the following:

  • Provides a reliable examination of sperm DNA integrity, which may be useful in identifying males who are at risk of subfertility or infertility.
  • This website contains information that may be used to assist in the clinical diagnosis, management, and treatment of male fertility problems.
  • It has predictive significance in predicting the outcome of assisted conception therapy.

Can You Treat Sperm DNA Fragmentation?

Because fresh sperm is produced every 72 days, it is possible that reducing exposure to oxidative stress would reduce the amount of sperm DNA fragmentation present.

Recommendations for lowering oxidative stress include:

  • It is important to get your varicoceles examined by a urologist to determine if surgical treatment is required
  • Hot baths and underwear that are too tight should be avoided
  • Consume a nutritious diet that is high in fruits and vegetables and low in fat and cholesterol
  • Exercise regularly
  • Smoking and illegal substances should be avoided. Consume alcohol in moderation. Examine your current drug list with a urologist to determine if any medicines should be replaced or altered (e.g. SSRIs)
  • Consider the usage of vitamins and antioxidants in the form of dietary supplements

FAQs DNA Fragmentation

Can you get pregnant with high DNA fragmentation?

Having a high proportion of fragmented DNA in the sperm of the male partner may substantially decrease the odds of a successful pregnancy for a pair of people. Through assisted reproductive technology, the odds of becoming pregnant may be enhanced. The high level of sperm DNA fragmentation reduces both the natural pregnancy rate and the live birth rate.

What are the types of DNA Fragmentation tests?

Damage to sperm DNA often occurs in both young and older men. There are a variety of assays available to determine the amount of sperm DNA fragmentation present in the DNA. The Sperm Comet Test and the SCSA are two of the most often used assays.

What are the factors that cause damage to the DNA of the sperm?

There are a variety of conditions that may cause DNA damage in sperm. When it comes to age (men in their 50s and 60s are more likely to have fragmented sperm than men in their 20s and 30s), when men have a chronic infection in the prostate, exposure to toxic agents and chemicals, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, and exposure to excessive heat, these are just a few factors to consider.

When should sperm DNA fragmentation be tested?

Historically, sperm DNA fragmentation hasn’t been examined until after a couple has tried and failed to conceive via one or more reproductive procedures. However, this is starting to change as researchers begin to realize the predictive potential of the DNA fragmentation index, as well as the effect of the DNA fragmentation index on the health of children.

Experts are now proposing that sperm DNA fragmentation be checked on all males before any reproductive therapies are initiated, regardless of gender. There is truly no such thing as a moment when testing should be avoided. Because sperm DNA fragmentation may be curable with lifestyle changes, testing early in the reproductive process may save you time, energy, and money by preventing you from undergoing more invasive treatments later.

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Dr. Ramit Kamate finished MBBS from B J Medical College, Pune. He pursued Masters’s In Reproductive Medicine from Hamilton University, UK & IBCME Dubai. Completed Fellowship in Cosmetic Gynaecology and Sexual Medicine from USA.

DNA fragmentation

by | Oct 20, 2021

DNA fragmentation

by | Oct 20, 2021

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